After nearly 30 years of service during all kinds of emergency incidents from one end of our country to another I can tell you there are three things that will destroy the ability to respond well:
- Lack of, or poor, communications.
- Lack of, or top heavy, organization.
- Lack of, or poor, plans and planning capability.
Yes, there are more aspects of emergencies and disasters that can contribute, or even drive, failure. However, these three are the ones that I have seen over the years consistently prevent success and foster failure.
So why do I talk about them here and now? Come on, simple explanation if you know me very well.
I want you to succeed!
Yes, it is that simple; I want you to succeed with all you are doing with preparedness for any emergency, disaster and especially for any “grid-down” event. And yes, I believe 100% that a “grid-down event” will occur here in the US, I just don’t know when.
And to clarify, I didn’t list the three factors of failure in any particular order. If there was going to be a #1 failure factor I would have to name “communications” without any hesitation. Why? Regardless of having everything else squared away, if you can’t communicate you can’t succeed.
I have spent a lot of time writing articles about “communications” oriented solution and ideas; and I will continue to do so. I have written a little bit about “planning” but not near enough. In my two books that I have written (My Journal: Surviving the Collapse & My Journal: Going Home) I showed clearly how planning can be a huge help for success and a factor in failure. But I will write more on “planning” in the coming months. But for now I feel the strong need to share “organization” with you. I want to help you eliminate that failure factor from your preparedness quest.
About 4 months I was talking to a guy that runs a training program for Special Forces and we were talking about a number of current events. In the conversation he asked me again about ICS (Incident Command System). He had read some info I published awhile back and he wanted to know more. After about 45minutes he was infatuated with the ICS system. And I can understand why.
Over the last 7 or 8 years I have read many articles that touch on some aspect of prepper group organizing. Most have focused on security, and that is understandable since it is the #1 threat/risk. However, all of the articles have been written for a “quick read” and easy solutions. The whole “quick read” thing is based on the assumption that everyone now has ADD/ADHD and won’t spend the time reading a long article, regardless of critical importance. So the authors devolve into providing quick fixes, usually with little actual experience or forethought into what they are proposing. I will do no such thing.
I will explain why organization is important, what has failed in the past, what has actually proven to work and why. Then I will go into detail outlining how you can apply a success and proven organizational structure to your needs and wants. You may not do so now, but I do want you to print this series of articles and stash it away with the rest of your SHTF notes, then bring them out when the time comes. My preference would be you have read, understand it and pre-organized at least your family if not a self-reliance or camping group.
Several years ago on a private members-only website I shared how ICS was a perfect match for preppers. It is the ultimate organizational system to deal with any type of and any size of emergency incident or disaster. It is scalable from a very small incident to something along the lines of the response to 9/11 in NY City.
How do I know that and can speak with such confidence that it can scale that large? Simple, I attended an ICS academy in 2003 with a Battalion Chief from the FDNY who was on the scene when the towers went down. He was the senior fire department officer on the pile immediately afterwards. We were on the same team at the 2003 NY ICS Academy and he told me that afterwards they, FDNY, were lost because they didn’t know ICS. He told me unequivocally that if they had understood and been using ICS they could have been far more able to effectively and efficiently respond to the horrific event.
I have participated in some 2,500+ ICS incidents over my career, before that we used different organization and command models. And then of course there was my military time where we had a very rigid command structure. So I have a pretty wide and deep pool of experience to draw from. Unfortunately, much of that experience was learning “what not to do” vs. “what to do.”
So how does this tie into “prepping” again? Well, I am going to take the most extreme scenario and refer to a “grid-down event” that requires the high degree of application of prepper skills and resources. But not to worry, the system can scale back to much smaller and less extreme applications.
Now, for the “name” of this system. I was leaning towards ZCS (Zombie Command System) but that didn’t sound especially professional. Then I went with something that sounded by applicable POS (Prepper Organizational System). But “POS” has some negative connotations associated to it. And then there was the whole “command” word associated with what it was going to be called. In today’s warm and fuzzy environment I thought that there may be some folks that took exception to being “commanded” and such. So I am will hold off with any official designation for the system. In the meantime I will refer to it as it is currently called in emergency services terms – ICS.
And “incident” will be the word I use for any emergency, disaster, or “grid-down” event. It will apply to your family, your neighborhood group, your self-reliance group, or your Constitutional militia. It will make it easier for continuity purposes and you can apply it as you see fit. This may be one of the most important skills and information you ever learn.
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